lilflip.jpgLil’ Flip has had a horrible past few years. First, he got embroiled in a war of words with T.I. (which has since been squashed). Then, beef with his label led to accusations that Sony leaked his fourth solo album, I Need Mine, after he jumped ship for Asylum. With the early version of his disc panned by critics, Flip hit the studio to update the LP with some new material. Looking forward to a better New Year, the H-Town Leprechaun hopes there’s still a pot of gold at the end of his rainbow.

With production duo the Symphony scoring a bulk of the disc, things start off in the right direction. Take the lead single, “Ghetto Mindstate,” an urban tell-all cloaked in stone-cold synths and Lyfe Jennings’ frosty croonings, wherein Flipperachi barks on naysayers with, “Why everybody tryna bring me down/Because of me they respect H-Town.” Similarly, DJ Squeaky’s intense bass and scratchy violin chords for “Can’t U Tell” give Flip and guests MJG and Squad Up enough legroom to kick a few flows and pimp a few hoes. The Freestyle King even displays his knack for storytelling on the baby-mama anthem “Single Mother.”

But with the good always comes the bad. On the self-produced “Fly Boy,” Flip drops bird-shit lines like “I got more drugs than CVS” and “The kid got more beef than a meat market.” Then there are Kraft singles, like the Mya-featured “Flippin’” and the cliché drug-personified-as-a-woman cut “Addicted.”

Although tweaked, I Need Mine still includes some of the questionable material from its previous incarnation—namely, the lyrically limp “Take You There” and the lazily constructed “Sorry Lil’ Mama.” Buried among the upgraded tracks, the sore thumbs are not as prominent as before, but they hold Flip back from fully regaining his underground-legend status. —BRIAN MILLER